Broken Bow’s Savage Pride Marching Band scored a grand slam victory at the Tishomingo marching contest on Oct. 7, returning home with a a large collection of awards. The contest was the first of the band’s three marching contests this year.
According to Harley Thomas, Jr., band director, awards received by Broken Bow’s band included Outstanding Color Guard, Outstanding Drum Line, the contest’s high music score, first place in its class, and was the large school sweepstakes winner.
The band was also honored as the contest’s overall grand champion, Thomas said.
“They didn’t give an award for a high marching score, but if they had, we would’ve won that too,” Thomas said, noting the feedback received from contest officials and other music educators who were at the contest.
“We received lots of just amazing comments after our Tishomingo performance, from the judges and from other band directors,” he said.
The performance is especially impressive given that this year the Savage Pride has a large number of “first year” marchers, which Thomas said had provided a very different experience than 2022’s marching season, where most of the band’s musicians were experienced members.
“It’s a different year from last year when we only had 3-4 first year marchers,” he said. “Our new marchers this year make up nearly half our band. So it’s been a very different process, but they tackled it really well. We’re really happy and really proud of this group.”
For 2023, the Savage Pride has a total of 90 members, roughly typical for the band but an increase over last year’s 80-member crew. The color guard has 19 members, 15 of whom are on the field during the band’s competition show, entitled Forever.
The show has a romantic theme, Thomas noted, and is a semi-sequel to the band’s 2018 show, Lots of Vast Emotions.
“It’s focused more on the feelings that come after falling in love,” Thomas said. “It’s more a sense of something long-lasting; there are lots of hearts and infinity symbols used.”
The show features songs including Forever by KISS, selections from the Phillip Glass opera Einstein on the Beach; Canon in D by Johann Pachelbel; Like my Father by Jax, I’d Do Anything for Love by Meatloaf and How Long Will I Love You by Ellie Goulding.
The show also features spoken narration of a story from Einstein on the Beach, performed by Alison Sundberg, Thomas said.
The Savage Pride’s competition season is not over; traditionally the band goes to three marching contests each year, and the next one will be a landmark event for the Broken Bow program as it’s set to return to the Oklahoma Bandmasters State Marching Championship in Catoosa on Saturday.
Thomas said that contest is “unofficially recognized” as the state marching band championship, but that the Savage Pride has not competed there for around 13 years due to the way the contest was conducted.
“It used to be 4A and 5A combined; it’s hard enough to compete against some of the larger 4A schools,” he said. “They split 4A and 5A a year or two ago and went to an open draw. We had said that if they ever re-split it, we’d go back, and I feel like we have a band that will do well at it.”
Following that contest, the band will then compete on Oct. 18 at the OSSAA Regional Marching Competition in McAlester. The band competes at that event every year, where it consistently earns a superior rating.